Get reading and writing this year with opportunities for everyone at New Writing North

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  • New Writing North is back for 2024 – offering a wealth of new reading and writing experiences, special events, supportive groups, and unique opportunities for aspiring and emerging writers of all ages and abilities. 
  • The charity’s Spring 2024 season goes on sale today – inviting everyone to go bold and get involved, whatever their level. 
  • From beginners’ workshops to life-changing awards for more experienced writers, New Writing North has something for everyone to make this their best writing year yet.

Embark upon a wealth of new reading and writing experiences this Spring – whether that’s seeking out new books from outside the mainstream, trying a writing group for the first time, or taking the next move in your professional writing career.

Discover the best daring new fiction and non-fiction at the Gordon Burn Prize celebrating fearless writing that challenges convention. Founded in 2012 by New Writing North, Faber & Faber and the Gordon Burn Trust, in memory of Newcastle-born writer Gordon Burn, the prize has long been considered a highlight of the literary calendar. Now sponsored by Newcastle University, on 7 March it will take place in Newcastle for the first time. Previous winners include Benjamin Myers, Denise Mina, David Keenan and Preti Taneja. Across a dazzling evening of literature, the six shortlisted writers for this international prize will read from their work, before the winner receives £10,000.

Meet best-selling author David Nicholls, in conversation at this Spring’s Book Club Live event (1 May). The award-winning writer of One Day (soon to be a major Netflix series) and Starter for Ten will be celebrating publication of his latest novel, You Are Here. Never been to a literary event before? Book Club Live is an excellent way to try one – in the cosy surroundings of The Biscuit Factory, grab a glass of wine, enjoy a lively discussion, and ask your own questions or just sit and listen, if you like.

Just started writing? Join one of New Writing North’s free and friendly writing groups, which meet six days a week in communities across the North East. There are groups for young people; for speakers of English as an additional language; and for women of colour. Or take the next step with a Start Writing course for just £35 for six weeks, in libraries in Jesmond, Berwick and Killingworth from April.

Kickstart your writing career with an online course as part of the New Writing North Academy – with opportunities from writing YA, short stories, or memoir to a CPD-accredited course to improve your writing at work. Working in a small group of dedicated writers you can benefit from flexible learning at a time and pace that suits you, exploring the techniques used by leading contemporary writers.

Love podcasts? Have a brilliant idea for a TV adaptation? Start writing for screen and audio with a new raft of opportunities for aspiring writers this Spring, including through the Northern Talent Development programme with Channel 4:

  • Award-winning screenwriter Nathan Bryon (Bloods; Rye Lane) in conversation (27 February, Online)
  • Webinars on the art of adaptation for screen with Oscar and BAFTA-winning writers including Rebecca Lenkiewicz (She Said) and Hossain Amini (Drive; McMafia) (from 5 February)
  • Audio fiction drama masterclasses, with time in a recording studio, with leading audio writer and producer Ella Watts (Eliza: A Robot Story; Dr Who Redacted) (from 3 February)
  • Writers’ rooms for television comedy and comedy drama writers with Saima Ferdows of Tiger Aspect (Bad Education)
  • Sounds Good: From the Page to the Podcast, a five-week course with writer and producer Lisa Mainwaring, including online learning and studio sessions.

Enter new work for the Northern Writers’ Awards, England’s biggest writer development programme. The flagship awards for writers from the North, supported by Northumbria University, are open until 12 February, with opportunities for writers at all stages, including for young people. Then, from 12 February until 29 March three new opportunities will be available:

  • The Sid Chaplin Award, which supports writers from working-class backgrounds and is worth £2000
  • The Finchale Award, founded by writer Benjamin Myers, which will award one short-story writer £1000
  • The new Tempest Prize, established by Andrew McMillan, which will award a £1000 bursary and mentoring to an LGBTQ+ writer of fiction or poetry.

Anna Disley, Executive Director of Programme and Impact at New Writing North, said:
“As we prepare to honour one of Newcastle’s greatest writers, Gordon Burn, when we bring the international Gordon Burn Prize to the city for the first time, it is wonderful that we can do so within a programme packed with opportunities for people at all stages of their reading and writing journey. That the next great writer could be here, in a creative writing group in the West End of Newcastle, where Gordon grew up; creating new audio drama in a professional recording studio; or entering our new award for LGBTQ+ writers, is a golden thread that runs through our work. If you’re thinking of getting involved this year, we’d love to hear from you. As ever, we’re grateful to the partners and funders that enable us to do so much work to inspire creativity, nurture talent and create money-can’t-buy opportunities.”

New Writing North’s Spring programme is supported by vital partnerships with Newcastle University, Faber & Faber, the Gordon Burn Trust, Northumbria University, Channel 4, Forum Books, Newcastle Hospitals Charity, South Tyneside Council, and with funding from Arts Council England, North of Tyne Combined Authority, Newcastle Culture Investment Fund, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Sir James Knott Trust, Amazon Literary Partnership and the Kavli Foundation.

Download the Spring programme here (PDF) or find listings online: events, groups and activities and current projects.